Ambiguity surrounds the size of the financial allocations allocated by Iraq to finance the budget for next year 2020, to conflicting news regarding the value of the expected fiscal deficit, at a time warns deputies that the salaries of employees may be in danger next year, unless the competent agencies intervene.
The alarming signals began earlier this year when the Finance Ministry led a series of meetings, attended by lawmakers and experts in various economic fields, to prepare a budget bill next year.
And leaked a member of the Finance Committee in the Iraqi parliament Jamal Cougar, part of the content of the discussions, hosted by the ministry, to the media, explaining that the budget next year, estimated the size of public expenditures of the state about $ 120 billion during 2020.
Although this figure is very large, Iraq used to, especially during the so-called "years of abundance" under the government of former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki between 2010 and 2014.
But the worrying news about the 2020 budget is that its deficit is about $ 60 billion, which means that oil will save Iraq next year, only half of its financial needs, which may affect one of the most sensitive files in the country, the file of salaries of employees Government officials.
Since 2003, oil has become the only source of funding for the state budget annually, with most expenditures going to cover the salaries of government employees, whose numbers are increasing every year. Due to the rent of the Iraqi economy, the salaries of employees are the main driver of the market at home.
MP Jamal Cougar says that the budget deficit is mainly due to inflated operating expenses allocated to finance the salaries of employees, warning that these salaries may be in danger next year, unless the competent authorities intervene.
“There are a lot of space personnel,” he says, a nickname for people registered in official government departments who receive monthly salaries without appearing or working. He explained that "the elimination of aliens, is one way to address the budget deficit."
They told people the truth
In a related context, the MP in the Iraqi parliament Mohammed Iqbal, calls on the government to openly tell the Iraqi people the reality of the situation with regard to the budget next year.
Iqbal says that “the International Monetary Fund pointed out months ago to the excessive spending of the government and warned of a composite deficit in the budget 2020, is the government ready to avoid the crisis? Especially after the inability of oil producing countries to curb the increase in supplies and the rise in oil stocks in the market, and global indicators of contraction of economic growth. "People need to be frank," he said.
Exiled to the Ministry of Finance
The Iraqi Ministry of Finance, that "the figures put in the media about the proportion of the budget deficit, premature, and unfounded."
The ministry reported that "many media sites reported news and figures on the amount of budget deficit expected for the year," noting that it had held since the beginning of the year 16 meetings to "discuss the strategy of preparing the budget for the coming years and in the presence of the Finance Committee in the Iraqi Council of Representatives and representatives of all ministries, bodies and provinces At the highest levels. ”
She continued, "It continues in daily face-to-face meetings with ministers, heads of bodies and governorates and directors of financial departments in all state institutions to prepare a draft budget that adopts programs and performance, and in line with the government program."
Parliamentary sources pointed out that the Minister of Finance Fouad Hussein, the President of Parliament, Mohammed al-Halbousi on the control of the statements of Iraqi MPs in the media on the budget next year.
The sources added that Halbousi met with members of the Finance Committee, and asked them to give the Ministry of Finance a full opportunity to prepare the final draft budget for next year, before the public debate.
Later, Mahasin Hamdoun, a member of the Finance Committee, distributed a written statement to the media stating that “the deficit referred to is not fixed at the time of writing and the Committee has not seen any of the details of the 2020 budget”. Ministry of Finance and a number of members of the parliamentary committee. ”
The ministry's denial or clarification circulated by the parliamentary committee did not allay fears that the public budget could not cover employees' salaries, especially as they avoided setting clear figures.
Observers believe that the current figures on the budget deficit may be exaggerated as indicated by the government, but this does not mean that the deficit will be little, amid fears that believe the projections of contraction growth, which may lead to lower oil prices globally.
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